Billie Wise had worked her entire adult life and found value in being employed. In 2003, her life took a turn for the worse. She experienced a loss of a family member and was injured while working, which lead to disability. She then lost her daughter to a catastrophic illness and experienced depression that crippled here ability to even leave her home.

“My few sparse attempts to rejoin the workforce was bleak,” Billie said.

During this time, she witnessed her friend, Beth, of the same age, whom is college educated, get rejected for numerous jobs for which she was qualified.

“Had we aged out of the workforce?” Billie asked herself. “Were we no longer wanted or needed in our early senior years?”

In 2017, Beth enrolled in Goodwill’s Senior Community Service & Employment Program (SCSEP) and was being paid to job train.

“Beth told me about this great program through Goodwill that places seniors back into the workforce, allowing us to rebound, fill our current work resumes with solid work experience and continues to place us in positions both familiar and new. These work opportunities improve our skills and help us achieve new goals.”

“My Goodwill SCSEP Career Coach Kimberly Culliton worked with me to find a good fit. Each day, each week, I became stronger in myself, and my abilities to go forward and work, once again, became my best friend.”

During the next two and a half years, Billie was assigned to three different training sites to learn new job skills.

“When the pandemic hit, many of us were suspended from our training positions, but Goodwill SCSEP continued to keep us employable through online Zoom meetings, supplying us with virtual training workbooks and career strategies that allowed us to stay current and continue learning, achieving work skills and goals,” Billie said. “Kimberly worked tirelessly to keep all sixty of her participants, in over fourteen counties, actively training and challenged in our positions. Kimberly goes above and beyond, making each of us feel as if we were her only client. During the unprecedented pandemic, her professionalism and great ability to lead and care for others was apparent. Working with us weekly in Zoom meetings, Kimberly continued to persevere, leading our group, and allowing us to contact her regarding our individual needs. Always with patience and a smile. You could feel that smile in her voice.”

Today, Billie is employed at Haven Care Center in Danville, a pregnancy resource center and the first training assignment she was given through SCSEP.

Goodwill SCSEP Career Coach Kimberly Culliton said, “Ms. Wise always demonstrated a strong ambition and determination to overcome barriers while navigating her path to a new career. Her enthusiasm, willingness to be teachable and friendliness will continue to serve her well as she moves into the next chapter of her career with Haven Care Center.”

To that, Billie added, “It took me several years to regain my confidence and self-worth. Lots of prayer and time to reflect, knowing God had a plan for me but not sure what it was. I never knew that my first phone call to Goodwill would put my life on a course to new beginnings, lifelong friendships, valued coworkers and once again loving life! God in his most abundant glory had led me to this life changing journey through Goodwill SCSEP and its outstanding team!”